Dog Treats as a Training Tool

Today’s blog post come from Jeff Fuller of Sporting Dog Adventures.  Jeff started breeding and training Labrador Retrievers in 1998 and continues to dedicate his life to the dogs through his show which is aired Sportsman Channel.

Congratulations, you have successfully chosen your puppy! Now the training phase begins. The question will undoubtedly arise as to whether treats should be utilized for motivation during training. There are varying opinions on this subject. Some trainers endorse using treats as a way to harness the insatiable appetite possessed by a pup or young dog in order to gain compliance. The opposition believes that using treats is amateurish and unnecessary.

Using treats can help reinforce commands that will be used later in the field.

In making your decision, consider how the treat will be used to motivate your pupil. Using treats can be a great tool for getting the attention and motivating a pup or young dog. There are different methods that can be used in concert with treats to teach these young pupils certain commands. Once the pup understands and performs the command, the motivating morsels can slowly be replaced with a soothing compliment. After a command is mastered, you can use the now-anticipated treat for a head start on future skills.

Food is a basic motivator for your dog, so you can use their primitive love of food to accomplish training goals with greater ease. In early training, food will be a stronger motivator than other types of positive reinforcement. Puppy-food kibble, commercial dog treats, or even small bits of “people food” such as chunks of
hot dogs will bring out your dog’s hunger to please.

If you are still skeptical about incorporating food rewards into your training program, consider trying it for teaching at least one command. Hopefully after trying this method, you will be able to decide if it is a “treat to treat.”

This article is brought to you by Soggy Acres Retrievers.